Reviewing Best Motion Picture of the Year for the Oscar Academy Awards

I’ve always liked watching movies, so in 2005, for the first time, I decided to watch all the movies nominated in the Best Motion Picture of the Year before the Oscar Academy Awards. Just to know what I think about the result, and whether they actually were good movies.

I don’t have any aspirations to write perfect film critique or something, but rather just express what I think about the nominated movies. It will indeed be interesting to see which one wins, and what the general take on that decision is. I’ve graded the movies where the scale works like that 1 is very bad and 5 is very good.

The nominated movies

Here are the movies and my opinions about them, in the order I watched them:

No Country For Old Men
A picture of the movie poster for No Country For Old Men

First one out, and I was really interested to see what the Coen brothers had achieved this time. They’re fantastic at creating an ambiance and interpret some of the local US phenomenons and characters. The movie starts out with the quality and originality we’ve gotten used to from them, but then it somewhat fails to deliver. It loses momentum, and nothing really happens or has gotten you spellbound watching.

What makes this movie worth seeing, though, is the outstanding and truly scary performance by Javier Bardem. The grade is maybe not completely fair, but I think it’s a bit low because I expected more, and that it started out well but couldn’t keep it as good.

Grade: 2+

Juno
A picture of the movie poster for Juno

Juno is about a teenage pregnancy. Doesn’t sound to alluring, right? But this movie is actually very cool with down-to-earth characters, a witty dialog (which I’ve heard some people think is a bit too Gilmore Girls-ish) and good actors.

Given the topic, don’t be discouraged. It’s a movie with some interesting turns and overall, it makes you feel good about people and life. Shit happens, but in the end it’s all about attitude.

Grade: 3

There Will Be Blood
A picture of the movie poster for There Will Be Blood

This movie is utter crap. It sickens me to see the overwhelming reviews and bunch of Oscar nominations it have gotten. Don’t get me wrong, the movie itself is a good craft and Daniel-Day Lewis is a really good actor.

But the story… Oh my God. It’s so long and it’s soo boring. Really. I thought No Country For Old Men was a bit slow, but Jesus… This is quicksand in movie form. I was going to give it a grade of a weak 2, but then came the ending (don’t worry, I won’t give it away). Let’s just say that it takes place 25 years after the bulk of the movie, and one of the characters look exactly the same! Couldn’t they at the very least given him a fucking beard?!

Don’t waste your life on this. Really.

Grade: 1

Atonement
A picture of the movie poster for Atonement

A Romance/Drama taking place in England, and sort of a costume movie. Not really the criteria which gets me going, I can tell you that. But you can just guess how pleasantly surprised I was then that this movie turned out to be great! It caught my interest fairly soon, or rather, had me thinking that this won’t be too shabby.

Then, with its turn and twists, and some incredible scenes, it elevated itself into the best movie out of the nominated, no doubts. Love, drama, sorrow, hardships. It has it all, and this, my friends, is quality.

Grade: 4

Michael Clayton
A picture of the movie poster for Michael Clayton

George Clooney definitely stars in very different kinds of movies; some rubbish, and some pretty good. I’d say that his is neither. It’s just ok. The movie itself starts out quite good with a very intense dialog, and the mystery surrounding some things gets you in a pretty good grip.

The things is, though, that the movie never succeeds in taking it to the next level. It’s decent, and you do want to know how it turns out. Problem is, it gets too ordinary in the end and promising implications ends up in solutions you’ve seen too many times before.

Grade: 2+

Which one should win?

Without a doubt: Atonement. If any of the others were to win, I guess I could still live with it; just as long as it’s not There Will Be Blood.

Are these the best movies?

Previous years when doing this, I’ve claimed that most of the movies were far from the best ones the preceding year, and that most of them, more or less, were a waste of time. This is generally true this year around too. After I’ve done this, I can watch movies that actually seem interesting (thinking Sweeney Tood, Into the Wild etc) and of which I am sure that they must be better than the majority of the above mentioned.

However, I have to say that doing this made me watch a movie I wouldn’t have seen otherwise, Atonement, and for that I’m very grateful!

Have you seen any of these movies, and what do you think?

And the winner is…

No Country For Old Men won. In retrospect, I think it was ok, although I still think it could’ve been much better.

Posted in Movies,Reviews/tests |

7 Comments

  • Andy says:

    All pretty much sucked, IMO.

  • I've planned to see No Country For Old Men tonight, and I'm even more curious about it now. I've been a long time fan of the Coen bros. and Javier Bardem, so I really hope it doesn't disappoint me as much as it did you.

    I've seen Juno last week and it's indeed a very cool movie. Very funny, and Ellen Page promises to become a great actress. I already liked her in Hard Candy; she's really good at portraying quirky, witty and odd characters.

    I've yet to see the rest of 'em, and am looking forward to see There Will Be Blood (based on the raving reviews and the IMDB score).

    By the way, with it being a Paul Thomas Anderson movie, there was quite a chance it would be long and slow, wasn't there? ;)

  • Pat says:

    You should have also mentioned how screwed up the ending was in "No Country For Old Men". I was asking myself WTF? But otherwise.. beautifully shot, crazy scenes, and like you said… it does seem to drag on. I think your rating was fair.

    Juno was okay. Something to shut your mind off for a while.

    Atonement and Micheal Clayton, I just couldn't get into them… another day I'll try and watch them again.

    Great reviews as usual Robert! :D – I'm looking forward to some good movies this year… But oh man I miss the good old days!

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Andy,

    A very short and concise review. :-)

    Harmen,

    No Country For Old Men is ok, but not more, I think. And Ellen Page will definitely become a well-known actor.

    There Will Be Blood has gotten so much undeserved praise (although you have a point about the length :-) ), so I don't even know where to begin.

    Pat,

    Thank you! :-)

    Yeah, the ending does makes you want more, or different. It somewhat gives you the feel like they suddenly realized they had to end the movie, as soon as possible.

    But yeah, with the risk of sounding very old, I do miss the old days too! :-)

  • Mats says:

    !!!!SPOILER!!!!

    I watched "No Country For Old Men" the other night and I just don't get what people are so up in stitches about?

    It feels like I've seen the movie before somehow.

    And what is the point of Woddy Harrelson? He shows up, finds Llewelyn Moss and then … gets killed?? The only reason for him to show up is to show us who the boss is, and the only reason for us to know who the boss is is to see him get shot in the throat?!

    I keep waiting for the twist, for … something, anything…

    And then the anticlimactic ending??

    No thank you! Disappointed! Agree with the 2+.

    I think all the critics are getting paid by the Cohen brothers… ;)

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Mats,

    Ha ha! Yeah, I agree, I was thinking about Woody's meaningless part too. :-)

    But if you feel everyone getting their panties in a knot for that movie, whatever you do, don't read the reviews for There Will Be Blood or even watch it altogether…

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